January 18, 2012

Isaiah 56:8 The Sovereign LORD declares–
he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
“I will gather still others to them
besides those already gathered.”

This verse in a way sums up the preceding seven, because it points out that God’s intent is to include, not exclude, particularly on many points that people tend to think are important. God is saying, “I’ve already messed with your categories, and I’m going to do it even more.” The one condition that God gives for being gathered to Him as one of His is heart attitude. Anyone who is committed to God out of love for Him belongs to Him, and nothing can separate them from Him (Romans 8:35-39) However, people today are trying to say that right heart attitude isn’t a requirement either, and that leads to all sorts of aberrations. Biblical morality is disappearing, not only from many sectors of society but even from parts of the Church. The Bible is very clear indeed that such an attitude leads to exclusion, if it is not repented of. (Revelation 22:15) That’s not to say for a moment that you are excluded if you have ever been in that category, because that would exclude everyone. The key is repentance, acknowledging our absolute need for the grace of God and throwing ourselves on His mercy. Jesus saved His harshest words for the self-righteous. We can’t know God’s grace and mercy without acknowledging that we are lost without it.

This applies to me as well as it does to anyone, and as a pastor I am charged with instilling this understanding into as many people as possible. We tend to write people off, to say they will never come to God, and that is denying the power of God! We are to be active both in communicating the Gospel and in praying God’s grace and mercy on those who hear it. The big issue that is thrown around today is homosexuality. I need to make it clear that God loves homosexuals as much as anyone else, and that is why He calls them to repent. He also calls to accountability those who were compliant with the devil in twisting those people’s understanding of their own sexuality. This is hardly a simple subject, and I am not to be simplistic about it, but neither am I to back down from the clear Biblical position on the matter. At the same time I am not to overlook heterosexual promiscuity, because that is part of the same lying package from the devil. I am to be very clear about Biblical standards, while at the same time proclaiming God’s grace, as well as the reasons His rules are far and away the best way for us to live.

Father, I am very aware of my own humanity, and we certainly live in a hyper sexualized age. I ask You to enable me to think, speak and act in line with Your Word and Your will, expressing Your truth in love so that as many as possible may indeed be gathered, just as You expressed in this verse, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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